Huge Seafood Coalition Opposes Natural Resources Bill that Undercuts Sustainability Successes

Washington, DC – Ahead of tomorrow’s House Natural Resources Committee hearing on legislation entitled “Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act,” a coalition of more than 800 members of the seafood community say the proposed bill is not backed by science and has the potential to do more harm than good.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is among the world’s best fishery managers,” said NFI President John Connelly. “This bill appears to ignore that expertise and process and just walls off parts of the ocean to fishing.  It disregards generations of science-based work and community consensus. Drawing arbitrary lines on a map is not science, it’s politics.  Lines on a map don’t actually promote sustainability but they can harm livelihoods that depend on real sustainability work.”

The proposal calls for massive Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that would prohibit all commercial fishing activity across at least 30 percent of the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 2030. 

“The seafood community is committed to the conversation about marine conservation and fisheries management.  Cute slogans like ‘30 by 30’ are not part of a reasonable or responsible dialogue,” said Connelly.

The effort ignores the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s success in providing rigorous, science-based framework for area-based closures designed to help rebuild specific stocks. Instead, it relies on total, indefinite closures to commercial fishing in an indiscriminately chosen percentage of the ocean, with no stakeholder input.

“Fisheries management must be science-based and account for the communities that provide us our food.  The coalition signers want to know; when will proponents of this idea address the concerns of the more than 700,000 men and women who depend on domestic commercial harvesting to provide for their families?  ” asked Connelly.

The Committee hearing is Tuesday, November 17, at 12:00 PM Eastern.